Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Farm Update

John and Annette are farming beside the Bandon River in Ballinadee with their family Paddy, Ciara, Aine and Jack. They are milking 165 cows this year, of which 32 (19%) are heifers, after gradually increasing from 135 in 2020. They are farming 71ha in total including owned and rented ground, with a cow grazing platform of 53ha. The outside ground was used for replacement heifers and silage up to 2022.

Contract Rearing

This year with the increase in the herd, all the replacement heifers have been contract reared with a local farmer, leaving this land for silage to support the grazing block. The overall farm stocking rate is 2.5 LU / ha.

Milk Solids

The herd supplied 508kg milk solids / cow to Bandon Co-op in 2021, at an average of 4.2% butterfat and 3.54% protein. It is a spring calving herd with 77% of cows calving in 6 weeks. It is a black and white herd and the EBI of the cows is €186 with good PD’s for fat and protein improvement of +0.11% and +0.09% respectively. Cows are lasting in the herd with the average lactation of the cows culled this year being 5.3 lactations. The herd is milked through a 16 unit parlour and there are good cow housing and farm roadways.

Protected Urea

All slurry is applied using an owned slurry tanker with a dribble bar, and most (75%) of the slurry is applied in spring either before or after the first round of grazing and on the silage ground. John has switched to using protected urea as his main source of nitrogen, and says it’s working out cheaper than and as effective as CAN.


Clover would always have been set with any reseeding, but only at whatever came in the bag of grass seed. John is now looking to increase the level of clover on all the grazing ground, and is including clover at the rate of 5kg per ha on any new reseeding. He also oversowed a 4.5ha paddock this spring by scratching the ground first with a grass harrow, then broadcasting the bare clover seed using a slug pellet applicator on the back of a quad bike at the rate of 5kg per ha.

Very watery slurry (milking parlour washings in a slatted house tank) was then applied at 2,500gallons per acre. The slurry did not cake on the ground due to the parlour washings and stayed “slimy” instead which allowed the clover to germinate and get through this slurry coat. There is a good establishment and a great distribution of clover (every step you take walking in the field you will stand or be close to a clover plant) and John grazed it all year at very low covers of about 700kg/ha. The paddock got no chemical nitrogen since it was oversown, and the clover nodules have kicked in producing their own nitrogen at this stage. It will be great to have this paddock only needing nitrogen in the spring next year and then no nitrogen for the rest of the year and producing as good as the neighbouring paddocks getting full chemical nitrogen.